We can all agree there are few things worse than missing your flight. And avoidable mishaps – like running afoul of the TSA at an airport – sting twice as much as a canceled or delayed flight due to inclement weather. While TSA procedures and regulations might be perceived as tedious to some, the truth is they work hard to ensure the safety of all passengers. It’s on us to comply with the rules in order to increase our chances of getting through checkpoints quickly and without complications.
In this post, we explore how to avoid putting a serious chink in your schedule, along with the schedules of everybody in your lane. With proper awareness, the only thing to keep you from your loved ones (or that pivotal business contract) will be circumstances beyond your control.
Avoid getting held up at your next TSA checkpoint or screening with this 9-point checklist!
What to Avoid Packing
Firearms and ammunition it might seem like an obvious taboo, but in 2014 the TSA confiscated over 2,000 firearms packed in carry-on baggage in 224 airports nationwide. If you need to legally transport firearms, be sure to pack them according to air carrier rules and regulations and declare them to the proper transport authorities on arrival.
E-cigarettes or vape mods (in check-in luggage) when bringing along a personal vaping device, TSA rules require all components to be packed in carry-on baggage. This is because items like e-liquid bottles, vape tank, and batteries are all at risk of breakage or explosion unless they’re with you in the pressurized cabin.
Too much alcohol if you’re a Duty-Free shopper, it’s worth noting that the TSA only allows up to five liters of 48 to 140-proof alcoholic beverages per passenger. Over 140-proof (meaning higher than 70% alcohol content) beverages can’t be checked in.
What to Avoid Wearing
Elaborate clothing wearing strappy clothes, complicated shoes or anything that takes time to put on and take off is a good way of turning everyone in your lane against you. Wearing clothes that are easy to slip in and out of not only gets you through your TSA checkpoint quickly — it helps you stay comfy all throughout your flight as well.
Metal accessories things like heavy buckles and studded belts are sure-fire items for getting yourself taken aside and patted down extensively. To ensure your screenings stay quick and easy, keep it simple until you’ve landed at your destination.
No socks anyone who’s ever been unlucky enough to get a staph infection can testify that it’s no fun at all. TSA personnel may require you to take your shoes off at some point during your screening, and when they do it’s best to avoid putting bare feet on a floor walked by millions of pairs of shoes a day.
What to Avoid Using
Non-TSA approved locks while tamper-proofing baggage is an understandable priority for passengers, TSA personnel require access to baggage if an inspection is deemed necessary. Using TSA-approved locks (which are widely available at airports) allows inspectors to use TSA master keys to open your locks, instead of having to break them.
Gift-wrapping paper you read that right; when bringing a present to your destination it’s best to wait until you land before wrapping it. For security reasons, TSA personnel may ask you to unwrap an item covered in wrapping paper, particularly if they’re in the medium to large boxes.
The wrong lane most major airports have special lanes for VIPs and families, so be sure to use the right lane if you’ve got quintuplets in tow. There’s nothing worse than wrestling diaper bags and strollers in the regular lane with an empty family lane next to you.
Pro-tip: It Pays to be Courteous & Cooperative
That wraps up our checklist of dos and don’ts for quickly getting through your next checkpoint. Additionally, it never hurts to stay up-to-date with TSA rules and regulations via their website. Provided you pack properly, follow the instructions given in screening and avoid arguing with TSA personnel, you should have no problem making your next flight in good time.